From the age of five, living in a tiny Staten Island studio apartment with my Grandmother above a busy New York delicatessen, I found myself surrounded by amazing Italian cooks. The living was not easy, but we made our way with hard work and great food. I still remember helping my Grandmother make her rice balls until the early morning hours. The delicatessen below us would buy them from her, fifty at a time at first, until their popularity grew, and we were making two hundred a night to fill the order. The long hours in the kitchen made for long days at school, but the memories of us covered in rice and meat as we finished the order, are priceless. The love and laughter we shared made it all worthwhile.
Now that I am older, the love of food nurtured as a child, has left me with a picky pallet. This created a problem in my new beloved home of Texas where the great Italian sauces I grew up with were nowhere to be found. My friends were quick to learn my routine for a dinner out at an Italian restaurant of ordering a side of gravy with salad and garlic bread, so I could decide if I would be enjoying dinner or scraping sauce off my cheese raviolis. My saving grace was having my Mother nearby and having her restaurant to feed me my tastes of home. And when the restaurant was retired, I still continued to fund my Mother’s efforts as she kept my friends and I gathered at the table for an incredible Italian dinner. The best part of our Italian dinners, was being able to take my friends into the kitchen and showing them a ladle full of my Mother’s sauce rich with hearty meats like chicken, ribs and meatballs. Seeing such a sauce was always a first for my friends, and they couldn’t wait to sit down fast enough for dinner. Soon, my Mother found herself in the kitchen working hard to fill orders for friends, fund raisers, birthdays and any occasion wanting a fantastic Italian dinner.
With a certain déjà vu, the hard labor has lead to a new idea. Why not make the sauce, that I love and all too few know, available to the masses?
Now it is. Using the original recipe straight from my Mother’s kitchen and by removing the meats for packaging, we are finally able to bring my Mother’s Italian gravy to everyone. We look forward to sharing my family’s love for a great sauce with all our friends, new and old. Mangia!